Awful Men on the Internet and Why Demons Should Eat Them by Thomas Welsh

Most people are aware that the internet is very different if you’re a woman or a minority than if you’re a middle-aged white guy. Whether you play videogames online, Tweet, post selfies, blog, or just use Facebook, your interactions are going to be heavily influenced by your gender, ethnicity, sexuality, age, and socioeconomic background.

That’s not surprising, right? The anonymity of early internet was a novelty, and if you grew up on message boards and forums, you could be judged based on the content of your comments rather than your identity. Kind of. But with more and more of our personal data sucked up and exposed by robotic data collection monstrosities (or “Google” and “Facebook” if you prefer), the barrier between our online persona and the core of our personality has eroded away to nothing. We are “IRL” the same people we are online, no matter how much we may wish that were not the case. If you’re a terrible person in the comments thread, you’re a terrible person.

In my story “Even Demons Order Food Online,” one of the newest online social media tools is explored through a horror lens, and the main character is pretty terrible, too.

If you’re ever used random online chat applications, chances are, you’ve seen some guys junk. It didn’t take long for the miracle of “connect with a stranger anywhere in the world and make a new friend” to morph into “connect with a horrified woman anywhere in the world and show them your genitals.”

It wasn’t hard to construct a horror story around this premise. Guys expose themselves to women online all the time, and often with no repercussions. If they were to get their comeuppance, what might offer maximum catharsis?

As a horror author, you can get a lot of mileage out of choosing basically any real-world scenario, then applying Nietzsche’s famous maxim – “If you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you.”

Interesting…

What if the abyss is your webcam. And you don’t just stare into it, you show the abyss your junk? And what if the abyss contains demons? Demons that treat the internet not as a communication medium, but as a menu.

 

 

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Thomas Welsh is an award-winning fantasy and short story author based in Scotland. He was the winner of the Elbow Room fiction prize for ‘And Then I was Floating’ and has also been published in The 404 Ink F Word Collection and Leicester Writes. His fantasy trilogy Metiks Fade debuted in March 2018 with book one, Anna Undreaming published by Owl Hollow Press. He also writes for games, and is a narrative designer on two major unannounced cyberpunk titles coming in 2019.

 

 

 

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Photo Credit: “The Rake” (c) Myhatisblue

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